The Forest of Numbers
When trees are marked with paint, usually a fluorescent cross, it means they are destined for felling. Yet these numbers were obviously painted for another purpose.
I soon discovered that the numbered trees are part of a scientific study to look at exchanges between trees and soils. In the interim, almost every other tree more than a few years old in this part of the forest has been felled. The numbered trees were spared for their ‘research value’ and have since taken on a new significance, a perverse reminder that we can count in two digits, the last remaining trees.
Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla) breed in the forests of Russia and Scandinavia. As from September, they migrate south in the millions in search of beech nuts.
Migrating birds have lots to contend with. Physical objects such as television and mobile phone transmission towers obstruct their flight. But more insidiously, the effects of climate change can alter birds’ delicate seasonal clocks.
Warming temperatures in many regions also change plant growth patterns, throwing biological cycles out of sync. Nothing operates in isolation. Climate change can disrupt relationships and the timing of critical life events.
Given the expected decline of European beech due to climate change-induced drying, beech trees are expected to disappear in these low-elevation forests.
What then will these birds eat?
On 16 June 2017, a group of protestors who were protesting against the proposed A5–Westast Autobahn attached posters with the words ‘irreplaceable’ in French and German, to the 745 trees that will be felled should the project go ahead.
If you stop at just one of any of those 745 trees, gaze into it branches and recognize its worth, the enormity of the loss becomes apparent.
Yet some still struggle to comprehend the value of old trees, preferring lorries and concrete, noise and pollution and a fractured town.
Dismantling the Devil’s Rope
Barbed wire kills – both wildlife and organisms it supposedly contains.
Most deaths are unobserved and unreported. They happen mostly happen in the dark, unseen. Another form of slow violence.
Yet no-one has been held liable for deaths.
Barbed wire is listed as a ‘threatening process’. It’s also used as a weapon and in torture. It slices up landscapes, people and cultures.
I’m told, however, it is ‘just another tradition’.
The intimate textures of lamellae and pores, spines and silken folds reveal themselves to a finger run gently beneath a pileus.
Mushroom hymenia are slaves to gravity. In the process of hydraulic expansion, a mushroom twists and distorts, in an effort to keep them perfectly plumb.
This fungal plasticity and flexibility reflect the ingenuity of spore release.
Welcome to “Indulgence Country”, as one Victorian Shire refers to itself.
In Indulgence Country, visitors can stay overnight and “let go”, “rejuvenate the mind and body”, “indulge in over 200 types of therapies “, enjoy “unique shopping experiences”, nourish, pamper, spoil, cleanse, luxuriate and gratify oneself in attempt to “escape everyday life”.
Surrounding “Indulgence Country”, the forests and streams are rich in life, and . . . mattresses. Mattresses now devoid of their “indulgence value”. After all, there’s no point paying $25 to dispose of a mattress at the local tip. Much easier to dump in the bush. Few will ever notice. Welcome to Indulgence Country.